Mary Armbrust

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With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around her, Mary Armbrust held a special place in the heart and lives of everyone she met. She was kindhearted and genuine in the way she treated all people, and she had the best sense of humor, too. It was no secret that Mary shared the majority of her life with her true love, and her family that grew to include children, a granddaughter, and great-grandchildren was her greatest source of pride and joy. A friend of Mary’s was a friend for life, and there was no one who met her and left unchanged. Although she will be deeply missed, she will never be forgotten.

Although the 1920s were a vibrant and prosperous time in America, the 1930s were drastically different as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Times were a struggle for nearly all Americans, but the American spirit remained as evidenced by the completions of both the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. Amidst this eventful time was a time of great joy in the lives of Frank and Anna (Gluczak) Przanowski as they were thrilled to announce the birth of the baby girl they named Mary on December 16, 1932, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her mother was from Poland, and her Polish heritage was important to her.

As the youngest of six children, Mary was well cared for by her older siblings including Jennifer, Frances, Stephanie, Stanley, and Leonard. She was raised in the family home in Milwaukee and always reflected on her childhood as a very special time in her life. Mary enjoyed doing things that were rather typical for the youth of her generation like playing baseball in the alley, jumping rope, or playing hide ’n seek. At times her asthma limited some of her activities, but she still was an active young girl. Mary liked gym class in high school, so much so that she often took the place of girls who didn’t want to do gym class! She also had a love for science and geography, and she always dreamed of going someplace warm. Family and friends were vitally important to Mary. Her best friends were Sophie and Lee, and the three girls were almost always together. One of their favorite things to do was to head to the local bakery at closing time when they could often get a bag of sweets for just 50 cents. Mary and Sophie became friends in first grade and were best friends for the rest of their lives.

New and exciting changes were in store for Mary when she met the love of her life. His name was Kenneth “Kenny” Armbrust, and they met at a bar called Kisses. Never one to be shy, Mary went up to him, took his hand, and said, “Some of my friends want to meet you.” That was all it took as the rest is history. They got to know one another through letters as Kenny had joined the Marine Corps and was serving in Korea. Their letters were numerous, and it has been said that some were hot and heavy! With a desire to establish a life together, Mary and Ken were married on September 3, 1955.

True partners in every way, Mary and Ken were a great team. They were thrilled to become parents to two amazing children, Mandy and Randy, and they raised their children in Cudahy, Wisconsin. Ken established a successful flooring business, and Mary was his office manager. They worked well together, and Mary was always happiest when she was with her husband, her children, her siblings, and her friends. Around the home she was forever singing to her children, and one of her favorite songs was “Que Sera Sera.” Mary often reminded her daughter of the words of the song, that the future is not theirs to see. Later in life she was thrilled to become a grandmother, and Mary was just as loving and devoted toward BreAnn as she had been to her children.

In addition to caring for her family, Mary kept busy with other things she enjoyed as well. She and Ken loved spending time with their Elaine Avenue neighbors, Rita and Lenny, and Andy and Rita. On one particular New Year’s Eve they arranged the bar stools around the streetlight and yelled “Happy New Year!” They were a fun and crazy group who were often up to something. Mary always said that she loved her life with family and friends, laughing, even fighting at times, but always having a “hell of a time.” Artistic and creative, Mary has been called a Martha Stewart before there even was a Martha Stewart! She loved ceramics and was talented with it as well, and she was the queen of recycling, reusing, and repurposing. As their physical needs slowed them down some, Mary and Ken moved to Franciscan Villa in South Milwaukee, and in 2011 she was deeply saddened with Ken’s death. She also had Alzheimer’s disease to contend with.

All who knew Mary Armbrust would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was hardworking and purposeful as, “he who hesitates is lost,” was one of her favorite phrases. Mary had a great sense of humor and could find the funny side in nearly everything, and she had the amazing ability to take everything in stride. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.

Mary Armbrust died on Sunday, February 21, 2016. Mary was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Kenneth “Kenny” Armbrust. Cherished mother of Mandy (Erv) Matsche and Randy Armbrust. Loving grandmother of BreAnn (Scott) Constantineau, great-grandmother of Daniel, Matthew and Katherine. Dear sister of the late Jennifer (the late Bruno) Cielinski, the late Frances (the late Bernard) Witkowski, the late Stephanie (the late Edward) Walendowski, the late Stanley “Stag” (Lori) Przanowski, and the late Leonard (Patricia) Przanowski. Further survived by many nieces, nephews other relatives and friends. Visitation will be held on Thursday, February 25 at the Funeral Home from 4:00 p.m. until time of the Funeral Service at 6:00 p.m. Interment St. Adalbert Cemetery 11:00 a.m. Fri. Feb. 26, 2016. In lieu of flowers memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association of Southeastern Wisconsin 620 S. 76th St. Ste 160 Milwaukee, WI 53214. Arrangements by Suminski LifeStory Funeral Homes, Niemann / Suminski, 2486 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 744-5156. Please visit and share a memory of Mary or sign the guestbook.

Past Comments

Alzheimer's Association of Southeastern Wisconsin

In behalf of everyone here at the Alzheimer’s Association – thank you so much for thinking of us at this time of loss to your family. Memorial donations made in Mary’s name will be put to immediate use serving families and supporting research. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Tom Hlavacek, Excutive Director

Erv Matsche

One of my first memories of Mary was shortly after I started dating Mandy. It quite possibly was the first time I met Mary and Kenny. A group of family and friends were gathered around the kitchen table in the Armbrust residence to play a game of Spoons. The object of the game was to grab a spoon before the other players. If you don’t grab a spoon, you are out of the game. Well, there was one spoon left on the table and I was sure I was going to get it. But then Mary came sliding across the table to go for the spoon as well. We both ended up on the floor laughing, but Mary came away with the spoon. I came away with the realization that Mary takes her game of Spoons seriously and that there would be many more fun games in my future. Mary will be missed!

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